Judy Chicago – Caroline Herschel Test Plate (Early)
Dimensions: 12.25 x 13.75 x 5″ / 23.5 x 23.5 x 10.5″ box
Medium: China paint on porcelain
Judy Chicago’s test plate for the Caroline Herschel place setting at her seminal work “The Dinner Party” is one of the most spectacular of all the plates. Herschel was the first woman astronomer, making discoveries of comets and other celestial objects. Her dedication to science paved the way for other women to join the field.
This plate features an abstract image relating to the butterfly-like transformative shape, the star in the middle a reference to Herschel’s interest in the cosmos. The remarkable technical aspect of this plate is its three dimensional attributes, with one “wing” of the butterfly curving inward toward the center in fluid, graceful manner that seems to defy technical limitations.
-Tonya Turner Carroll
Judy Chicago is a pioneer of feminist art. Since the early 1970s, Judy Chicago advocates issues of women’s liberation and independence through diverse media including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and collaborative installations. Her iconic work “The Dinner Party,” (1974—1979), which is now permanently installed in the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of feminist art. With Miriam Schapiro, Chicago co-founded the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts—the first program of its kind—and collaborated on the formative installation Womanhouse (1972). More recently, Chicago has expanded upon her efforts in gender politics, focusing on broader social issues. Her work has been exhibited extensively at venues such as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Whitney Museum, and the Jewish Museum in New York.
Judy Chicago speaks of her work as “trying to infuse women and women’s history with a sense of the sacred and the valuable, because there are all these things associated with women that have been devalued: our bodies, our crafts, our history,” continuing on to say she “tried to bring the same thing to bear on [her] work.”